No offense, but I think the argument you're using is slightly flawed.
If we were to compare base game to base game, you might find that Diablo 3 has more going for it than Diablo 2 ever did.
*Regular items - Still exist, obviously
*Gems - Not as many in D3, but some in D2 were kind of pointless
*Crafting - Not sure why you marked this off. Crafting is streamlined in D3, not gone. Instead of putting the items in the cube, you break them down and make new ones. You can still make set and legendary items and it's more understandable and you don't have to go hunting for a crafting guide to find all the recipes that were added in a patch but never told to us.
*Charms - Technically didn't exist untill LoD and even then, they were a waste of inventory space and not really all that interesting to gameplay.
PVP items - never existed in D2 so if they do make them for D3, will be even more to go for.
*Runes - Not really needed as an item drop, and once you had the set you wanted, you never needed to find a new drop unless to increase the power. That functionality has been replaced by new item affixes that will increase skill capabilities.
Also, there's more to play with than just items. Diablo 2 had fewer skills that were useful and didn't even have runes to change how your skills worked. Runes for crafting/sockets weren't introduced untill LoD anyway. Diablo 2 did just fine with fewer options and I don't think the fun of D3 can be boiled down to just finding runes. The hunt for perfect random drops and just killing monsters in Co-Op was plenty enough for me, at least.
I think things will be fine and all this fuss about runes going away will fade when everyone finally gets to play.